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Debunking five common myths about defibrillators

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This winter, Lincolnshire Co-op members, colleagues, and shoppers are fundraising for life-saving resources in our community. One of the ways we're investing in community health is by purchasing, registering, and maintaining defibrillators through our Community Champions scheme.

There are approximately 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests per year in the UK, and they can affect people of any age, at any time. So defibs are particularly vital in rural areas, where emergency services may have a longer response time.

Thanks to lack of public knowledge and Hollywood exaggeration, many people believe myths about defibrillator use that simply aren’t true. Some people may also be a little intimidated by the prospect of using medical equipment in an emergency situation.

So we've decided to set the record straight on some common myths around defibs, so you'll feel more confident if you ever need to use one.

1. You need professional training to use a defib

Not true! You don't need to have any formal training or qualifications to use a defibrillator in an emergency - they have been specially designed to be used by the general public. 

2. Defibs are really difficult to use

Not true! People who have never used a defib before could worry it will be very complicated and too hard for them to use. The truth is, they couldn't be easier to use! The defibrillator itself can actually guide you and give you step-by-step audio-visual instructions on how to use the equipment safely and most effectively.

3. You can harm somebody with a defibrillator

Not true! Defibrillators will only work on individuals who have just suffered cardiac arrest. The AED (automatic external defibrillator) will not shock unless it establishes cardiac rhythm in need of shock, and this is impossible to replicate.

4. You can only use a defib once

Not true! This is a very common misconception, in fact, a standard defibs administers many shocks over its battery's lifetime. Even then, this is not a problem, as the battery can then be replaced. However, you must change the pads to ensure they are adhesive enough the next time they're used. 

5. Defibs do not need to be used if paramedics are on their way

Not true! The process of carrying out CPR and using a defibrillator needs to be undertaken in the first few minutes that a person experiences a cardiac arrest. Even if paramedics are on their way, the faster a defib is used, the higher the chance is of the person’s survival.

We're proud to be raising money for defibrillators and local responder groups through our Community Champions scheme. Find out which cause you'll be supporting here.

Unsure how to perform CPR or use a defib? Check out our video below:

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